The Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout calls on Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to stop the sale of CANDU reactors to China. China is an international outlaw in its nuclear policies, as well as in its abysmal record of human rights abuses. Selling nuclear reactors to China places Canada in an indefensible moral, political and environmental position. Here are CNP’s top ten reasons for Jean Chrétien and his team to call off the sale:
10 Canada should not be using tax dollars to prop up this dying industry
- Canada will finance 1/3 of the cost, which will require borrowing $1.5 billion;
- AECL currently receives about $174 million annually in federal subsidies;
- since 1948, in today’s dollars, Ottawa gave the nuclear industry $13 billion;
- AECL will make, at most, $200 million over several years from the China deal.
9 By exporting CANDU reactors, we burden others with our unsolved problems
- official reports concede that catastrophic accidents in CANDUs are possible;
- CANDU reactors have the same pressure tube design flaw as the Chernobyl reactor;
- routine emissions of radioactive tritium from CANDUs endangers health;
- use of heavy water or plutonium for military purposes cannot be prevented;
- lengthy shutdowns and exorbitantly expensive repairs are a CANDU curse.
8 There is no simple means of dismantling nuclear reactors at the end of their life
- dismantling the radioactive structures of old reactors is a major problem;
- premature aging of reactor components can seriously compromise safety;
- dismantling old reactors will yield 1000s of truckloads of radioactive rubble;
- there is no proven solution to the problem of radioactive waste disposal;
- Canada’s largest operator of nuclear reactors, Ontario Hydro, has not put aside any money for waste disposal & dismantling. What will China do?
7 Producing nuclear waste is inconsistent with a sustainable development strategy
- the radioactive wastes will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years;
- plutonium in the nuclear waste will be usable for atomic bombs for millennia;
- the high cost of nuclear power diverts investments away from sustainable energy options;
- the long-term costs of nuclear power will affect our future economy and environment ;
- acts of war directed against a reactor can precipitate a Chernobyl-like disaster;
6 Ontario Hydro can’t keep its CANDU reactors safe — so how can others do it?
- Ontario Hydro is $30 billion in debt, all of it related to nuclear investments;
- Ontario Hydro can no longer afford to keep its reactors in prime condition;
- Hydro is shutting down a large reactor this year, 20 years ahead of schedule;
- Hydro may be forced to shut 8 Pickering reactors if safety doesn’t improve;
- 670 “significant events” occured at Ontario Hydro’s nuclear power plants in 1995;
- repairs to two Pickering reactors cost $700 million, during a 4- year shutdown;
5 China has refused to repay hundreds of millions of dollars in legitimate debts
- Chinese state enterprises have defaulted on $600 million in bank loans;
- banks in Japan, Germany & Italy have been left “holding the bag” by China;
- China International Trust & Investment Corp (CITICO) won’t pay its debts;
- CITICO owes $40 million to the London Metal Exchange, but refuses to pay;
- two Chinese state companies owe $100 million in losses to Lehman Brothers;
- AECL has confirmed that there will be no political risk insurance on the China reactor loan.
- This means, that should China default, Canadian taxpayers will be forced to pay off the loan.
4 China has imprisoned thousands of its citizens for advocating democracy
- China’s Premier, Li Peng, a.k.a. the “Butcher of Beijing”, will be signing the CANDU deal for China;
- Li Peng was the engineer of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre;
- he called out the tanks, and hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were killed;
- he labelled the pro-democracy movement “a counter-revolutionary riot”;
- after the massacre, he had thousands of pro-democracy activists arrested;
- many are still in prison because they embrace democracy & the rule of law;
- Amnesty International says “dissent in any form continues to be repressed”;
3 China practices harsh repression, including sterilization and forced abortion
- China routinely uses forced prison labour to manufacture goods for export;
- will slave labour be used in China, as in Romania, to build CANDU reactors?
- torture & other forms of ill-treatment are reported by Amnesty International;
- China dumps nuclear waste in Tibet, where atrocities are also frequent;
- in 1994, Jean Chrétien said the world community must denounce such acts;
- M. Chrétien wrote that China’s “human rights violations are not acceptable”;
- M. Chrétien added, to get that message across, “words are clearly not enough”.
- Now M.Chrétien is selling China nuclear reactors at bargain basement prices.
2 We owe it to our own citizens and to the world not to legitimate dictatorships
- experience has shown that tolerating injustice does not help to eliminate it;
- Canada spoke out against apartheid, and thereby played a role in ending it;
- appeasement is a policy showing moral bankruptcy and political cowardice;
- dictators thrive on pomp & privilege; they wither under exposure & censure;
- Jean Chrétien is supposed to represent the electorate, not the nuclear industry;
1 China has sold nuclear reactors and guided missiles to Pakistan and Iran
- Canada can not turn a blind eye to the insidious spread of nuclear weapons;
- Canada gave a nuclear reactor to India, who used it to make an atomic bomb;
- Pakistan is developing its own nuclear weapons capability clandestinely;
- Iran & Iraq have both revealed a determination to obtain nuclear weapons;
- since we refuse nuclear exports to Pakistan & Iran, exports to China should also be denied;
- concern over how China will use acquired nuclear reactor technology has led the
- United States to ban sales of reactors to China.CANDU exports make no sense given the health, environmental, economic, and safety concerns related to the use of nuclear power. Canada should stop the CANDU exports to China.